Android Oreo: Features, Release, Availability, and News

Android O is coming. Google has not yet revealed whether O stands for Oreo, Oatmeal cookies or something different. But the developer version of Android 8 is already released to Android O Developer Preview 2. Google has added functions, many of which are already known by alternative ROMs such as CyanogenMod or Samsung Galaxy UI.

Android 8 will be released just after the end of the US solar eclipse. Google shows the presentation of Android O in the Livestream. The teaser video, which was published in the Google+ account at the same time, was called Oreo. Google renamed the video to Octopus, Oatmeal Cookie, Orange Sherbet, and Orbit.

Which smartphones and tablets are supposed to get Android Oreo?

Apart from this entertaining unimportant detail, the innovations of Android 8 have long been known. An updated list of all smartphones that will receive Android O update is the Asus ZenFone 3. Most of the top models from 2017 and 2016 will get the Android O update, for example the Samsung S8 and LG G6.

All devices expected at the IFA (Samsung Note 8, Nokia 8) are either delivered with Android O or later. Many functions and the revised menus can be tried but now a look at the innovations. We'll show you what are the new features, how Google has redesigned the Android menus, where to get the Android 8 developer version and which phones will support Android O.

What is Android Oreo?

The first alpha version came out in March 2017. The current Android O Developer Preview 2 exists since May. The final version will be released in autumn.

New features in Android Oreo

Notification categories: Notifications are divided into categories. The user can activate sound and vibration for more important categories, such as mails or calendar entries, and mute the push advertising from games or newspaper apps.

Video with picture-in-picture: Android O is supposed to offer a picture-in-picture mode in Android TV devices. For example, a video or a video chat can continue in a reduced area while the user is using another app. A similar feature already existed on some Samsung devices for example. Multiple windows and multiple screens with different content can be rendered and used at the same time.

New layout in the settings: One of the first problems with Android O are the settings. The menu has changed and is now divided into a few upper categories, but these are more nested. A finger print brings all the elements to the fore.

The quick settings in the notification bar look different. There are more features housed in the pop-up version that can be optimized via the hidden SystemUI tuner. It can be used to change the navigation bar and to distribute the buttons on the left or right. In addition, two additional buttons can be added to the left and right, such as a link to the clipboard.

App notifications in the icon: Access to app notifications is now possible with Android O via the app icon. As soon as an app generates a notification, the icon gets a small point. If you tap on it longer, the message appears in the display.

More beautiful app icons: With the new adaptive icons, apps can look different depending on device and interface. Instead of Google's preferred round symbols, the same template can also be square or rounded. To do this, the developer must provide a template with two layers. The icon itself, which is 72 x 72 pixels is larger than before. In addition, there is a transparent background layer.

From this, the system then creates a suitable symbol, depending on the specification. In addition, the system can insert graphical elements such as shadows or parallax levels and build animations like a pulsating icon without the developer's help.

Safe Browsing API: Google introduces a Safe Browsing API not just for Android O, but even to Android Lollipop. This interface allows apps to check if Google has identified the resource as dangerous, for example, because the server is hacked or the website is known as a phishing trap. Google Play Protect scans installed apps for viruses and lands as part of the Play Store app on devices with Android 7 and older.

Built-in virus scanner PlayProtect: The apps in the Play Store scans Google for a long time, but now the scanner lands on the device and has to be started by the user through the Play Store app. It also checks apps installed from other sources. PlayProtect will also run on devices with older Android versions.

WebView component: With Android O the WebView component should run in a separate process by default. This should increase safety and stability.

Sideloading: The installation of apps from external sources is now somewhat more sophisticated. Instead of allowing or prohibiting the sideloading on a flat-rate basis, permission is now given to the respective app that has loaded the package. The option also moves the other app access rights to the Settings menu.

Expanded Android ID: Each user account and each installed app should be identified with its own Android ID. This makes tracking more difficult than user accounts. The advertising ID remains the same for all apps in an account on a device. On the other hand, it is easier to link Google accounts with accounts with third-party providers. Google also wants to simplify payment transactions.

Priority for apps in the foreground: The use of geofencing or passive monitoring of active apps queries are possible. The restrictions on the reception of broadcasts introduced in Android Nougat are exacerbated. And after a few minutes, the background apps are stopped, but there are exceptions. This should improve the performance of the apps used by the user.

OTA updates even when memory is tight: Devices supplied with Android 7 have two system partitions that allow faster updates. On such devices, a system update such as the security patches will now be possible with Android O even if the internal memory has run full.

Faster updates with Project Tango: Android O introduces a new abstraction layer between hardware drivers and operating system, the vendor interface. This simplifies the update process for the vendor but does not alter the need to provide the updates. Google's security patches, which a user can import themselves, do not continue to bring Android O.

Autocomplete API: Developers will be able to use a global "autofill" feature in their apps to fill form fields, such as e-mail or postal addresses if the user wants it.

Improved keyboard support: Google promises improved keyboard support for Android O.

Intelligent clipboard: When copying texts, Android helps to mark the correct text point. So far one has to fumble the small blue icons to mark a text. An automatic tap is now trying to recognize addresses, telephone numbers and names.

Better audio codecs for Bluetooth: There is a native support for higher-quality, but proprietary audio codecs. On compatible smartphones, the system can now use Qualcomm's apt-X (HD) and Sony's LDAC. The device manufacturers no longer have to install the necessary software into the Android image of the individual smartphone.

Wi-Fi Aware support: Wi-Fi Aware support will enable wireless devices to communicate without having to go through the Internet. In this way, smartphones can be informed of printers, and displays in their vicinity. It can exchange small information folders, such as location information or sensor measurement values, without setting up a dedicated connection.

Second Language Next to Java: The programming language Kotlin is now supported by Google. Android Studio 3.0 is to come with the complete toolset.

How to install the Android O Developer Preview 2

The Developer Preview runs on Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel C, Nexus Player, Pixel and Pixel XL. You should not install Developer Preview on your active smartphone. Much of it does not work well. For example, the battery life is shorter.

To install the images, you must first have the Android Beta program enabled for your device. You can do this on the PC browser through your Google account. In the course of 24 hours, your smartphone will be unlocked for the beta and you can then search for the OTA updates for the Developer Preview under "Settings - Info - System updates". The downloads are each about 1 GB in size.